Once a Castle, Now a Farm
Our Lady of Bradwell

Church Life

St Leonard's church  Foscote

The Monday Photo

St Leonard’s church became a house in the late 1970s, gaining an inserted floor above the nave and dormer windows in the roof. The chancel is now a living room.

This is the hamlet of Foscote, near Maids Moreton. You might find it spelt Foscott, or Foxcote. You might have guessed it means fox cottage/hut/shelter/den.

Old photographs show the graveyard in good order in 1945, albeit with the West wall covered in ivy. But by 1973 it was overgrown. The captions to photos taken in 1976 describe the church as derelict.

You can see these and other photos including interior shots at the link above, which takes you to Buckinghamshire County Council’s online collection of historic photos. Pick Foscott from the drop-down list.

This simple church was built in the 12th Century with just a nave and chancel. The chancel was extended in the 14th Century; the present chancel arch is from the same period, probably built at the same time. It’s a small narrow arch, most likely because the original arch was small and narrow too.

The porch is Tudor which makes it 15th Century; the outer doorway has that typical arch shape seen so often with Tudor work. The inner doorway is transitional; that is, built when styles were changing from the Norman to the Early English.

The church listing (it’s Grade II*) describes it:

“C12 S. (South) doorway has round moulded arch with nailhead ornament to outer moulding, carved impost blocks and stoup to right.”

Imposts are the blocks at the base of an arch. Stoups held holy water, and on entering or leaving the church a worshipper would dip the fingers of their right hand and make the sign of the cross.

As usual there’s a variety of window styles, many inserted after the original construction. There are several wide lancets which may well be the same age as the church; from the road and without going inside I cannot say for sure.

Of course, it’s a private house now so I doubt I ever will see the inside for myself. Oh well.

You may be concerned that this is not a functioning church any more, but there’s over 200 towns, villages and hamlets in North Bucks and most of them have a church; so I shouldn’t worry; at least it’s being looked after.

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